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Still No Sign of Missing Man at Cachuma Lake

There is still no sign of the 22-year-old man who is suspected of drowning at Cachuma Lake.

The Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department confirmed the man is Isaiah Sanchez.

Search teams have scoured the water since Friday night after Sanchez tried to swim to shore. The man’s uncle and friends told NewsChannel 3 they are waiting for any sign of their loved one.

Charles Bryant got to Cachuma Lake early Monday with friends and didn’t know about the possible drowning until Sanchez’s sister approached him. She was crying and asked him if he would keep an eye out for her brother while he was fishing.

“It’s actually sad, I was kind of shocked when she asked me that question. I can only imagine what she’s going through because that’s a very important person in her life. I mean, tough situation,” said Bryant.

Even though the lake is at least 50 feet below its normal level because of the drought, it’s still a large area.

Michael Allen, with Santa Barbara County Parks, said the more eyes on the water, the better.

“I’m glad to know that people are passionate about getting this closure for everyone. There’s a lot of the community that’s come together to support the family that’s come from out of town, traveled a great distance to come here and support each other,” he said.

When the call came in Friday night of a group of people in distress on the water, two park ranger boats searched for the missing man. The rangers rescued one in the water and one on the boat but Sanchez was no where to be seen.

The battery in the boat he was on died and he wasn’t wearing a life vest.

The area where he was last spotted is known as Cachuma Bay. The dive team searched that area and cleared it after they didn’t find anything but had to suspend their search because the water is too murky.

The team of five searched the bottom by hand, not by sight.

Lt. Rob Plastino, the dive team leader, told NewsChannel 3 the depth of the lake in that area is 80 feet but at 50 feet there was zero visibility.

Family and friends said they will just have to wait and lake visitors said they will do what they can.

“If I find anything, I’ll definitely help out,” said Bryant.

The dive team will not search the lake again until the conditions clear up. Plastino said the weather would have to be cool as warm temperatures make the algae bloom in the water. The wind will also have to stay calm as it causes currents in the water, making the search difficult and sometimes dangerous for the divers.

The search continues by land and water. One of the two Park Ranger boats has sonar that is being used.

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